What's Up @ MBF?

It’s hard to believe, but next month Middle Border Forward will celebrate its 5th anniversary! So much has changed in our region – and the world – since we first opened our doors in April 2016. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to building a stronger future for the Dan River region by inspiring meaningful community engagement & developing effective grassroots leadership. In fact, now more than ever, we understand the critical role social capital plays in fortifying a community to withstand & recover from disruptions – such as a global pandemic, historic civil unrest & economic challenges. The past twelve months have proven what we’ve always believed to be true – the most resilient communities are those where the citizens are empowered to “be the change” they want to see and systems are designed to work together for the common good.

In a few weeks, we will release a cumulative impact report of MBF’s first five years, along with our strategic plan for the future. In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek:

  • 49 MBF Fellows graduated
  • 45 small, scale community impact projects sponsored
  • 40+ community conversations hosted
  • 58 youth leaders trained

Almost as important as the work we’ve done, are the lessons we’ve learned. Lessons like how effective community engagement requires more than an open invitation and how cross-sector collaborative efforts are essential to creating long-term, systems-level change. These lessons & others have had a profound impact on how we approach our work and ultimately, led to the development of MBF’s Theory of Change. More about that next month.

What does all this mean for the future of MBF? Well, it means you can continue to count on us to provide access to world-class leadership development programming, as well as creative opportunities to impact the spaces where you live, work, play & pray. But, it also means you’ll see us taking a more systemic approach to our work within the community – building & supporting collaborative networks to address a variety of challenges and eradicating barriers (physical, cultural & systemic) to inclusive civic engagement.

MBF is honored to have been part of the incredible growth of the Dan River region over the last five years & we look forward to working alongside you to continue making this a place EVERYONE is proud to call “home” for many years to come.